TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - An image from NASA's Aqua satellite shows a green algae bloom slowly growing in Lake Erie. There's a plume of sediment from the Maumee River.
Additional sediment extends down the Ohio coast towards Sandusky Bay. It is way too early to tell if there will be a large bloom like the one that shut down Toledo's water supply for three days in 2014.
"We've had a lot of rain. Lots of runoff. That's good for algae. If we have a hot summer, we're going to have a bad one," said Sandy Bihn of the group Lake Erie Watershed.
Members held a monthly meeting Thursday night. They keep an eye on Asian carp, water levels and this time of the year algae blooms.
"The big issue right now is manure. We keep adding more and more hogs to the watershed., more manure into the watershed. Take manure out of the ecosystem," Bihn explained.
Charter boat captain Dave Spangler came to the meeting because he worries about creeping algae growth. He says the walleye hatch has been fantastic in recent years and anticipates an outstanding fishing season.
Mr. Spangler will watch the weather forecast.
"The temperature is the kicker. Once we get into the warmer temperatures, warmer water temperatures and have nutrients there. That's when the algae will start," Spangler said.
He says he'll know in a month if he'll have to keep his boats off the lake and hopes algae doesn't paralyze his business.
"We actually stopped fishing when it did in 2015. Where we really had no place we could really go when we could not find clean water," Spangler said.
Lake Erie provides eleven million people with fresh drinking water. It generates about $1.4 billion in fishing and recreational activities.
Business owners will know in about a month if they will need to keep boats off the lake.
The algae threat will continue until a way is found to reduce all nutrients running into Lake Erie.